Sept. 15, 2020

In The Beginning

In The Beginning

Every new podcast has an origin story - how did it come to be? For Be Spooked, it started with an idea in mid-July for a limited series run of 2-sentence horror micro podcasts, one a day from September 1st and running up to the final episode to drop on Halloween itself. 

Two-sentence horrors were a viral internet sensation sometime around 2015. The format was simple: set-up line, twist line . Many were variations of the same thing, rephrased under a new author handle.

My plan was to tweak them to have a more Asian flavour so these would stand apart from all the other 2-sentence stories out there. I contacted some local authors, who were keen to explore this format. 

Straight away, there were production difficulties. If you have a podcast intro and outro, that's a minute on its own, and two-sentence horrors would only take 15 seconds to narrate. It's hard to set a mood in that time frame, plus there's zero time for character development. Besides, how much Asian flavour can you get into two sentences anyway? 

So, back to the drawing board. 

Then I hit upon an idea - The X-Files cold opens. Since it first aired in 1993, I've loved The X-Files. The show made stars of its lead characters, Agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), and through its run, had two types of episodes: a series-long arc of government conspiracies episodes, and then what the producers called "Monsters of the Week" episodes. Every episode started with a cold open: from an ad break, it would jump straight into the show with an opening that was a few minutes long that ended with a twist to set up the rest of the episode; once the twist was there, in came the iconic Mark Snow music and show opener. 

So the original two-sentence horror idea was now a dialogue-driven 3-5 minutes episode that would include immersive sound design and cinematic music. I'm still learning and refining the process; hopefully listeners will notice the episodes getting better!

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